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Has anyone experienced this?

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2005

I'm asking this here because I don't know if this related to my thyroid cancer or stopping smoking or both.

Since having my total thyroidectomy and quitting smoking I am having weird nightmares. Not the normal kind. Let me also state that I quit smoking cold turkey so these are not dreams brought on by leaving on the patch, nor a weird reaction to a medication or other stop smoking aid. My nightmares or terrors start while I am still awake, lying in bed with my eyes shut, waiting to fall asleep. I seem to be having them in response to being anxious or a stressful situation.

The first one happened when I heard some rowdy people outside of my home late at night. I had just laid down to sleep, so I know I was still awake. I started having these terrifying nightmares and having an anxiety attack. I kept trying to tell myself that it was okay just open my eyes, but had to make a huge effort just to do so.

I had another one last night that lasted from when I laid down to sleep to when I gave up an hour later and got back up to clear my head.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, or if not, does anyone have any suggestions? These are starting to really creep me out.

Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2005

I don't know about the direct correlation between your surgery and your smoking cessation, but I think stress would be a safe bet as to a causing factor with those nightmares. Both events you've gone through are very stressful, and you've combined them (although it's great that you did stop smoking!). Also, the thyroid is responsible for some hormone regulation which probably isn't helping right now. Your system is having to adjust to bio-chemical changes from both events. Personally, I routinely have "tornado dreams" -- yes, dreaming that a tornado is coming -- when I'm under stress for whatever reason.

You might want to mention this to your doc if the nightmares continue or become truly disruptive to your life. If it is your subconscious "working through" the stress, etc., you'll need to deal with it in your conscious, waking hours to settle things. It could be a combination of many factors. You're not going crazy, but if you continue to miss out on valuable sleep time, you will be!!!!!

Best of Luck!

Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi, I think luvnlife is right. The nightmares could be caused by stress. Stopping smoking is stressful enough, plus you have the thyroid surgery and all that. I agree with luvnlife, it is your mind working through all the stress you've been through. Many oncology depts have social workers for the patients, most free of charge, and you might like to look into this as they can help. You might also like to check some short therapy. It helped me a lot and that is why I recommend it.
All the best,

Susan956's picture
Posts: 510
Joined: Dec 2005

Stress definitely causes nightmares. I also have found that using sleep aides can also seem to cause them. My Doctor gave me Ambien to help me sleep. It worked great for awhile and then I really started having many more dreams. So if you are taking sleep aides you may reconsider.

But probably this is just your body's way of dealing with stress. Normally when I have a particularly bad dream... I turn the light and TV on for awhile and try to get myself back together, if I don't sometimes I just repeat the dream.

But, I would guess no matter what s causing them they will pass with time.. So hang in there...

Take Care... God Bless...

Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2004

I know what you mean. Even before I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma I had started having bad dreams and nightmares that would make me cry even when I slept. Somehow I think my subconscious was trying to tell me something is wrong. I had so many bad dreams that I was scared to close my eyes and sleep. I had Hodgkins 7years back and when I got into remission I stopped having those dreams after a while. But a year before I got diagnosed with Tongue cancer stage 1. Belive it, before I got diagnosed with this cancer I dreamed that I had a poisonous sting in my tongue at the very spot where I had the cancer. In my dream I told my mon that the sting hurts and she took it out for me. Few months later I saw a tiny growth on my tongue and went to my doc to have it checked out. A biopsy confirmed tongue cancer. Well for now my bad dreams have ended and I hope they stay that way because I am too much scared they might come true !!!

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